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Horror of Dracula [also known as simply Dracula 1958] was Hammers first Vampire film. It would also the first film to feature Christopher Lee as Count Dracula and Peter Cushing as Van Helsing as well as the third film to feature both men together. Considered to be one of Hammers greatest Horror films and one of the best Dracula films of all time it would lead to an entire series of Dracula films all of which would either feature Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing.

SynopsisEdit

Jonathen Harker arrives at castle Dracula near Klausenberg posing as a librarian. Greeted by the count and taken to his room, as he writes in his diary we discover that he is in fact a vampire hunter who has arrived to destroy Dracula and bring about an end to his reign of terror. Whilst in the castle however he soon approached by a young women who claims Dracula keeps her against her will. She is however a vampire herself and bites Harker when he is not looking, before she can finish him Dracula arrives and drags her back to his coffin as the sun is about to rise. The next day Harker awakens and discovers he has been bitten. He hides his journal in a Virgin Mary Grotto outside the castle and descends the crypts where he finds Dracula and his Vampire bride. He stakes Dracula's bride [who turns into an old hag when she dies] but before he can do the same to Dracula it is already nightfall and the count has awakend and subsequently corners him.

Dr Van Helsing arrives in Klausenberg, looking for Harker. The frightened Townsfolk give him Harkers journal. When he arrives at the castle he finds it deserted; a hearse carriage speeds by with a coffin in it. In the castle Van Helsing is horrified to discover Harker as a Vampire and stakes him. He soon delivers the news odf Harkers death in person to Arthur Holmwood and his wife, brother and sister in law of Harkers fiance Lucy Holmwood. Lucy is ill, so the news is kept from her. When night falls, Lucy opens the doors to her terrace and lays bare her neck---already, it bears the mark of a vampire bite. And soon Dracula arrives and bites her again.

Mina seeks out Van Helsing's aid in treating Lucy and he hangs Garlic in her bedroom. Later however Lucy convinces the maid to remove them which allows Dracula to enter her room again where he finishes her off. Arthur blames Van helsing for her death so Van Helsing gives him Harkers diary. Later Vampire Lucy rises from her coffin and tires to kil her niece but Van Helsing saves the young girl by driving the vampire away with a cross. Van helsing explains to Arthur that Lucy has been made into a Vampire by Dracula both as a way of revenge against Jonathan for killing his bride and as a replacement for the bride Jonathan killed. Arthur refuses to use Lucy as a means to find Dracula, so Van Helsing stakes Lucy in her coffin.

Van Helsing and Arthur travel to the customs house in Ingstadt to track down the destination of Dracula's coffin [which Van Helsing saw carried away when he arrived at Dracula's castle ]. Meanwhile, Mina is called away from home by a message telling her to meet Arthur at an adress in Karlstadt-----the same adress arthur and Van Helsing are told the coffin was bound for----and Dracula is indeed waiting for her.

The next morning, Arthur and Van Helsing find Mina in a strange state. They leave for the address they were given, an undertakers , but find the coffin missing. When they decide to set off again, Arthur tries to give Mina a cross to wear but it burns her.

During the night. Van Helsing and Arthur guard Mina's windows outside against a return of Dracula but Dracula nonetheless appears inside the house and bites her. A remark by the maid leads Van helsing to the coffins location: the cellar of the Holmwoods own house. But Dracula is not in the coffin and instead escapes into the night with Mina.

A chase then begins as Dracula rushes to return to his castle before sunrise. He attempts to bury Mina alive outside his castle but Van Helsing and Arthur arrive. He subsequently flees into his castle where Van Helsing gives chase, the two soon get into a confrontation where Dracula overpowers Van Helsing strangling him, however just as Dracula is about to sink his teeth into his throat Van Helsing catches him off guard and kicks Dracula off of him. Dracula then corners Van Helsing but Van Helsing defeats Dracula by tearing down the curtains causin sunlight to flood the room. The sunlight begins to cause Dracula to crumble into dust though he tries to crawl away Van Helsing forms a cross out of two candle sticks and forces Dracula into the sunlight where he disintegrates completely. Mina is then cured and the last shot is of Dracula's dust blowing away with only his cloak and ring remaining.

Differences from the NovelEdit

Dracula does not change into a bat mist or a wolf, nor does he get younger as he drinks blood.

Dracula has only one bride who is killed by Harker. In the novel he has three who are killed by Van Helsing.

Dracula is killed by Van Helsing, and is destroyed by sunlight. In the Novel Sunlight only limits his powers and he is killed when his heart is pierced with Harkers bowie knife and decapitated by Morris's Kukri's knife.

Dracula does not take up residence in an England home nor is their any sea voyage from Transylvania to London.

Quincy Morris an R.M. Renfield are ommited entirely from the film

Jonathan Harker is both a librarian and Vampire hunter who has arrived to destroy Dracula, rather than an unwitting solicitor.

Doctor John Seward only appears twice, in two brief scenes, as the family doctor who is unaware of the supernatural goings- on.

ReceptionEdit

When it was first released in the UK the BBFC gave it an X rating being cut, an un cut version was released on DVD in 2007. The film recieved very harsh reviews due to its content [though it is now regarded as a classic by most film critics] never the less it was massive success at the box office pulling in more than even The Curse of Frankenstein.

TriviaEdit

Dracula, Van Helsing and Dracula's bride are the only major characters to appear in any of the sequels. Van Helsing appears in "the Brides of Dracula" while Dracula will be ressurected in "Dracula Prince of Darkness". Dracula's bride will make a cameo in "Dracula has risen from the grave" where her body is seen in her coffin.

First major Vampire film to have the Vampires with fangs

First Hammer Vampire or Dracula film

Shared many of the same cast and crew as "the Curse of Frankenstein"actors Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Valerie Gaunt, as well as the director Terence Fisher and Jimmy Sangster script writer.

First time Christopher Lee plays Dracula and Peter Cushing plays Van Helsing. Lee will play Dracula another 6 times for Hammer alone while Cushing will play Van Helsing four more times.

Dracula is destroyed on an inlaid Zodiac wheel on the floor, which has several quotes in Greek and Latin, from Both the Odyssey and the Hesiod.